With exactly a month to go to the start of the Regional Super50 Cup in Antigua, the T&T Red Force selection panel trimmed its 36-man training squad to a provisional squad of 22 on Friday. The practice match which was also scheduled for Friday was also called off at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva, as a wet outfield forced the players to train instead.
Among the 22 hopefuls are the experience Sunil Narine, Nicholas Pooran, Darren Bravo, Jason Mohammed, Ravi Rampaul and Rayad Emrit. Those like Jyd Goolie and Tion Webster who showed form during the practice matches also made the cut. The selection panel expects to name the final 15 to travel to Antigua next week Thursday for the Regional Super 50 Tournament which starts in February.
Meanwhile, former West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, the older brother, Darren, who announced his international retirement in October 2018, has been appointed as the team's mentor.
The senior Bravo, 37, has been training with the team since December keeping himself fit after he came out of retirement in 2019 to play international T20s only and represent West Indies again in the shortest format.
The team is expected to leave on January 26th with the tournament starting on February 9th. Guardian Media Sports understands that Trinidad and Tobago will play in the opening match of the tournament, but the fixtures are yet to be released by Cricket West Indies. Red Force head coach David Furlonge said while he will have two further practice matches next week, his mind is almost made up of who he wants to take to the tournament. “I would say I’m 95 per cent close to settling on the squad I want. I think it’s important to have an idea of who you want to carry now and not wait two weeks before a tournament to have an idea of your squad. It’s too short so I’m close to 100 per cent sure of what I think is the squad,” he told the media yesterday at the NCC.
Meanwhile, Furlonge also said, “It’s interesting to see what happens now when I have to deal with the players who are left out of the squad because it’s a very difficult squad to select but some players will have to be left out and we’ll have to talk to some of those players and make them understand why.”
Rayad Emrit has also expressed satisfaction that the competition is high for places in the final squad. He said, “We would hope the chances are good but everybody who is here is capable of making the team. However, it’s good to see that there is a lot of competition for places. The selectors are obviously going to have a difficult time selecting this team because everybody is available once again and it’s good to see that competition for places is there.”
The Red Force will have two practice matches next week Monday and Wednesday according to the chairman of selectors Rajendra Mangalie.
TTCB 22-MAN PROVISIONAL SQUAD:
Kieron Pollard (Capt), Nicholas Pooran, Sunil Narine, Jyd Goolie, Tion Webster, Jadon Seales, Khary Pierre, Mark Deyal, Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo
Jason Mohammed, Ravi Rampaul, Isiah Rajah, Kjorn Ottley, Yannick Cariah, Anderson Phillip, Akeal Hosein, Reyaad Emrit, Terrance Hinds, Imran Khan
Lendl Simmons and Denesh Ramdin. DJ Bravo (Mentor).